By TIM BOOTH | AP sports writer
SEATTLE (AP) – Wayne Taulapapa threw his career high of 120 yards and one touchdown, Washington’s defense dismissed Stanford’s quarterback Tanner McKee eight times and forced two fumbles, and the 18th Husky defeated Cardinal 40-22 on Saturday night.
Playing as a ranked team for the first time this season, Washington (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) used tight defense and a few big offensive moves to win opener Pac-12 under new coach Kalen DeBoer.
Husky quarterback Michael Penix Jr. he threw at 309 yards and a touchdown in the second half with 30 yards to Rome Odunze and 21 yards to Giles Jackson on the screen pass. Odunze had eight catches at 161 yards, his first career match he received at 100 yards.
But Washington’s defense deserved equal recognition because of the constant pressure it was able to put on McKee. Huskies fired him six times in the first half.
Stanford (1-2, 0-2) lost their eighth consecutive conference game last season, their longest slide under coach David Shaw.
The Huskies scored at least 39 points in all four games and this time they did so without Penix’s otherworldly performance, who still managed to break through 300 yards passing in their fourth consecutive match. Penix was 22nd out of 37. Will Nixon added a 3-yard touchdown and Peyton Henry scored four goals from the field.
Taulapapa was a less publicized off-season transfer for Washington, but he earned a nod by running away for a reason. He showed flashes in the first three games but found huge gaps to run against Cardinal, averaging 9.2 yards per move.
The longest run of Taulapapa came in the middle of the second quarter, when after losing at Stanford, he jumped the sideline to the 34-yard touchdown. This was Taulapapa’s first 100-yard match in both Virginia and Washington.
McKee was 17 with 26 for 286 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Michael Wilson from 23 yards in the second quarter, John Humphreys from 17 yards TD, and found Wilson again with a 78 yards TD towards the end of fourth.
But it was Washington’s rush that set the tone early on. Huskies entered the night with seven sacks a season and had six in the first half with McKee. Bralen Trice and Alphonzo Tuputala have joined McKee twice in the first half. But the biggest bag came from Jeremiah Martin when McKee hit the ball in the middle of the second quarter.
Faatui Tuitele recovered and two games later Tualapapa had a touchdown and led 17-0.
The cardinal was without leading EJ Smith and Myles Hinton starting right att*ck due to injury. Casey Filkins lunged 100 yards in place of Smith.
Stanford: Stanford’s rotation problems from the first two games reappeared. Along with the two fumbles, McKee was also intercepted in the first quarter deep in Washington territory when Filkins punched a pass straight into the arms of defender Cam Bright.
Washington: How dominant were the Huskies in the att*ck? For the first time this year, they were forced to fish in the first half. Washington made only nine points in four games.
IN THE FUTURE
Stanford: The Cardinal is on his way again next Saturday in Oregon.
Washington: Huskies are hitting the road for the first time this season and will be traveling to UCLA next Friday for a short week.
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